WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 26, 2010, 08:36 AM

Fire Chief accused of leaking confidential crime scene details

Moorhead, Minn. (WDAY TV) - New information tonight on the suspension of the Moorhead Fire Chief we first told you about last night. WDAY 6 News is learning the reason behind the suspension may be linked to the Zornes homicide investigation. The city has launched an internal investigation against Joel Hewitt.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

Details are quickly unfolding in this now criminal investigation, one that could land Joel Hewitt behind bars. Moorhead Police Detective Ryan Nelson interviewed Hewitt Wednesday night about the double homicide.

Hewitt is accused of leaking confidential crime scene details to a woman, thus possibly compromising the investigation. Hewitt's lawyer, out of the Twin Cities, says he doesn't know what information was allegedly given or to whom.

“Mr. Hewitt certainly denies categorically that he shared any confidential crime scene information with anybody and more or less denies categorically that he would have access to any. The Fire Chief, yes, he was at the property, but he never went inside the building.”

Hewitt hasn't been arrested or charged. The misdemeanor of giving government information is punishable up to 90 days in jail and a one thousand dollar fine.

I talked with Hewitt. He says the city manager has told him not to comment on the case.

WDAY 6 News has learned the city was made aware Hewitt was linked to a Madame after one of the largest online prostitution cases in the state. That case surrounds Nora Lee Anderson. She was arrested in the Twin Cities last summer.

Anderson started a website with about 300 prostitutes, well known clients, and that arranged sex parties. Hewitt's attorney say Hewitt told the city manager he dated the woman about three years ago and broke up with her once he found out about her illegal activities. This case is believed to not be connected to his suspension. Moorhead's city manager declined to comment.